Portions 101

portions health how much should you eat
How much do we really know about portions? Do we know what is "enough"? Or, what is too much? Restaurants, takeaways and food packaging sizes are causing some confusion, and often these "servings" are WAY too big for the average adult. So, do you know how much you should be eating from the different food groups? 

This blog post will clear things up and give you a practical view of the average amount of the different food groups we should eat at our main meal. 
The food groups are divided into 4 main categories: Protein, starches, vegetables/salad, and lastly, fat. 

Let's take a look! 

portions food health diet

In general, this is what a plate should look like at lunch and/or dinner.


Firstly, the most important remark: It should contain different food groups. We should always include a variety of different food groups to get the most benefits out of the meal (with regards to nutrients); different food groups can help us to stay fuller for longer while helping to balance our blood sugar and keep our energy levels stable. Plus, it can be DELICIOUS and fun!


The average protein portion size is: About a quarter of a plate or roughly the size of your hand palm. If it's meat like a steak, it should just be the palm. If it's a fish fillet, you can include your fingers in the length. 
  • This is items like fish, beef, pork, chicken and soy-based meat alternatives.


In general, half of your plate should contain vegetables and salad ingredients. 
  • Think of options like cucumber, onion, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, green beans, kale, spinach and courgettes. 
  • 1 x fruit can also be enjoyed with a meal and will fall within this category. 


Fat portions are important to limit as they are VERY energy dense: Meaning that a small amount provides high energy amounts. 
The general portion size for a fat portion is about 1 – 2 tablespoons or the size of your thumb. 
  • "Fat" portions refer to salad dressings, mayonnaise or other sauces/condiments, nuts, most cheese, peanut butter and olives.


Starches should make up about a quarter of your plate or the size of your fist. We tend to overeat starches as it is always used in restaurants and prepackaged, ready-meals to BULK up the meal.

  • This includes starchy foods like rice, bread, pasta, pizza and cereals. 
  • It also includes starchy vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin, butternut and sweet potato. 
If you are making “special” meals for the family or at social events - just stick to this portion guide.

As noted above, we know now that we require the different food groups to stay on top of our game. We need all of them for different reasons, and together they keep us full of energy and give our bodies all the nutrients to be strong and healthy.  

For more tips and facts on how to eat for your health, check these blog posts out:

  • To get healpful information on increasing and balancing your ENERGY levels, click here.  
  • Do you need help to clean up your eating habits? Take 7 easy steps and read the article here.
  • If you want to learn how to feel FULLER for LONGER, click here
portions food health diet

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